The Doctoral Program in Public Affairs is an interdisciplinary program drawing from the strengths of faculty in Criminal Justice, Health Management and Informatics, Public Administration, and Social Work. The Criminal Justice Track prepares students for academic positions in colleges and universities as well as research and leadership positions in public, nonprofit and private agencies.
complete 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree distributed in the
- a three-course, 9-credit hour
required Public Affairs substantive core
- a six-course, 18-credit
hour required Public Affairs methodological and statistical core
five-course, 15-credit hour required discipline-specific specialization
- a one course, 3-credit hour required Public Affairs practicum
credit hours of dissertation minimum
|Total Credit Hours Required:|
Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Master's Degree|
required to take a statistical assessment the summer semester prior to their
entering the program fall semester. This assessment will be used to
determine a student's statistical knowledge and competency. Students that
receive a passing score will be exempt from taking a 6000-level statistics
course. Those students requiring the 6000-level course will meet with
the Track Coordinator to determine which course will meet the
requirement. Students are required to complete and pass the course prior to
registering in PAF 7804 Quantitative I: Multivariate Analysis. The 6000-level
course credit hours may be included in the student's program of study as an
A maximum of 6 credit hours of Independent Study
may be used as electives with adviser’s approval.
work will only be accepted by the Public Affairs PhD program if taken as part
of an approved plan of study for a doctoral program at UCF or elsewhere. A
maximum of 6 credit hours taken at the doctoral level may be considered
for transfer. The acceptance of transfer credit into the track specialization
or elective component is dependent upon the approval of the Track Coordinator
in consultation with the PAF Program Director. Transfer work will not
be accepted into the PAF substantive or methodological core
of B- or better is required in all substantive core and methodological core
courses. Students receiving a grade of "C+" or lower will be required
to repeat the course and receive a grade of B- or better prior to taking
the Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam. Any student who receives
more than one grade of C+ or lower in their doctoral course work may be
dismissed from the program.
A minimum of 3.0
graduate status GPA and program of study GPA is required to maintain graduate
student status and for graduation. Students with a GPA less than 3.0 may be
dismissed from the program.
Any student who receives an "F"
grade in their doctoral course work will be dismissed from the program.
Required Courses—45 Credit Hours
Substantive Core—9 Credit Hours
- PAF 7000 Foundations
of Public Affairs: People, Places, Policies and Paradigms (3 credit
- PAF 7230 Strategic Change and Management for Public Affairs (3
- PAF 7317 Social Inquiry and Public Policy (3 credit
Methodological and Statistical Core—18 Credit Hours
- PAF 7802 Advanced Research Methodology for Public
Affairs I (3 credit hours)
- PAF 7804 Advanced Statistics
for Public Affairs I: Multivariate Analysis (3 credit hours)
- PAF 7805 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs II: Survey
of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
- PAF 7820
Qualitative Methods for Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
- PAF 7325 Policy and Program Evaluation for Public Affairs (3 credit
Choose one of the
- PAF 7868 Advanced Statistics for Public Affairs
III: Continued Survey of Statistical Methods (3 credit hours)
- PAF 7856 Structural Equation Modeling in Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
methodological or statistical course (3 credit hours)
Practicum—3 Credit Hours
- PAF 7947 Practicum in Community Based Research (3 credit hours)
At the end of the required coursework,
students will take the Practicum in Community-Based Research course (PAF
7947). Led by a professor, the practicum provides the student with the
opportunity to work within an interdisciplinary team to use their substantive
learning and apply their methodological and statistical tools to a real
community problem. This experiential learning brings the student out to the
community while bringing the community into the university.
Specialization—15 Credit Hours
Students are required take four of the
- CCJ 6XXX Seminar in Policing Urban
Communities (3 credit hours)
- CCJ 6XXX Seminar in Police
Administration (3 credit hours)
- CCJ 6XXX Seminar in Police Culture (3
- CCJ 6XXX Seminar in Institutional Corrections (3 credit
- CCJ 6XXX Seminar in Community Corrections (3 credit
- CCJ 6XXX Seminar in Correctional Effectiveness (3 credit
- CCJ 6XXX Juvenile Justice (Prerequisite: The Juvenile Justice
System) (3 credit hours)
- CCJ 6XXX Seminar in Policing and Prevention
in the Juvenile Justice System (3 credit hours)
- CCJ 6XXX Seminar in
Prosecuting Juvenile Offenders (3 credit hours)
- CCJ 6XXX Seminar in
Juvenile Corrections (3 credit hours)
- CJL 6568 Law and Social
Control (3 credit hours)
one additional specialization course from the following courses:
- See adviser for
appropriate methodological elective (3 credit hours)
independent study (3 credit hours)
- Or other course that will
add to the student's course of study. Requires approval of adviser. (3 credit
Dissertation—15 Credit Hours
- PAF 7980 Dissertation Research
Upon acceptance of a student into the program,
the program director provides students with an initial orientation and a
general advising session. The Track Coordinator in conjunction with the PAF
Director helps the student throughout the foundation stage of the program,
assisting in the clarification of interests and goals and facilitating the
introduction of students to faculty and research interests that can advance
the student's program of study. Criminal Justice Track students will be
advised by the Criminal Justice Track Coordinator.
The Track Coordinator assists the student in selecting elective courses,
finalizing the program of study, and facilitating discussion with faculty
members who have similar research interests. Discussion and review of
dissertation topics should take place with the faculty member who has agreed
to chair the dissertation committee. The dissertation chair is to be selected
by the student prior to commencing the dissertation prospectus.
Research Proficiency Exam and Qualifying Exam
Upon successful completion of the required courses, students are required to take a Research Proficiency Exam (RPE) and Qualifying Exam (QE). The Research Proficiency Exam will be taken after the successful completion of the Methodological Core courses. Following successful completion of all PAF core courses (not including Track Specialization courses or the Practicum), students are required to pass a Qualifying Exam. The exam is given following finals in the fall or spring semesters.
Students are given two opportunities to pass the RPE and the QE. Students who fail any section twice are dismissed from the program. Any student who fails any the RPE twice or the QE twice will not be readmitted into the PAF program. This policy includes all tracks and/or any master's to PhD program(s) within the PAF program. Please refer to the student handbook for further information.
Students officially enter
candidacy when the following work has been accomplished:
- Completion of all course work, except for dissertation
- Successful completion of the Research Proficiency Exam and
- The dissertation advisory committee is formed and
has been approved by the PAF Program Director and the College of Graduate
Studies. Members of the committee must be approved graduate faculty or
graduate faculty scholars.
- Submittal of an approved graduate program
- Submission of dissertation prospectus to iThenticate.com.
Subsequent results to be within acceptable rating.
defense of the dissertation prospectus.
- All approved documentation
has been received by the PAF and Graduate offices.
Full-time students in the Public Affairs Program pay a $40 equipment fee
each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $20 per
For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.
Applicants must hold a master's degree
from an accredited institution, preferably in criminal justice, health, public
administration or social work. Applicants with a master’s degree in a field not
directly related to public affairs may be required to take courses at the
master’s level in preparation for doctoral level study. Any requirements
for preparatory course work will be communicated at the time of acceptance into
the program and will generally be taken prior to beginning doctoral level
course work. These courses, if required, will not substitute for the listed
doctoral degree requirements. Admission is offered for fall semester only.
In addition to the general
UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must
- One official transcript (in a sealed envelope)
from each college/university attended for both bachelor's and master's
- Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five
- A narrative statement of 1000 words or less describing the
applicant's educational expectations, career aspirations, level of computer
skills, and any special qualifications or experiences that may enhance the
overall learning environment of the PAF program.
writing sample, i.e., academic paper, report, etc.
- Three letters of
recommendation from faculty or professionals who can assess the
applicant's ability to succeed in a doctoral program.
Admission to the Doctoral Program in Public Affairs is
granted on a competitive basis. Meeting minimum UCF admission standards does
not guarantee program admissions. Final admission is based on evaluation of
the applicant’s abilities, past performance, recommendations, match to the
program, correspondence of the applicant’s career and academic interests with
those of the core and affiliated faculty, and potential for completing the
degree and making a significant contribution to Public Affairs.
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International Transfer Applicants
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*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.
Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website
, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information
section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.
Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.